Removing The Middle Row Seats - 2011 Toyota Sienna SE Long-Term Road Test

2011 Toyota Sienna SE: Removing The Middle Row Seats

June 05, 2011


Last week I used to 2011 Honda Odyssey to buy new panels for my daughter's closet doors. Now I'm using the 2011 Toyota Sienna to take the old panels -- and a lot of other junk -- to the dump.

And so the middle seats have to come out once again. But this time it's the Sienna's turn.

The release handle for these seats is centered under the front cushion. Pull on the handle to flip the cushion up and release four floor hooks. At this point the release handle becomes a meaty carrying handle and the seat comes out easily.

My scale says the Sienna's seat weighs 52.5 pounds, about 5 pounds more than an Odyssey seat. That's pushing it, but the handle eases the process so much that I prefer this to the Odyssey, whose seats are a bit more finicky to disengage from the floor while forcing you to invent your own hand holds.

But that's just the passenger side. This is the "40" side of a 60/40 middle seat layout.


Yeah, that's right, the driver's side middle seat includes a "60" seat frame, even when the center seat itself has been removed. Note that both halves of the center seat's seatbelt are right here.

That's actually quite smart, because it means the Sienna's center seat cushion assembly is small and light enough to store inside the vehicle. You can roll with a center aisle and buckets every day, but whenever you need to make room for an eighth body you can whip out the center seat and quickly snap it into place.

By contrast the Odyssey's free-standing center middle seat connects to the floor all on its lonesome via its very own hooks and is therefore larger and must be garaged when not in use.

There is a downside to the Sienna approach, and that downside is weight. The "60" half of the Sienna's middle seat weighs 71.5 pounds as seen above. It's also bulkier to store in the garage.


When the Sienna's seats are out a bit of the sliding mechanism stays behind, giving us an idea of just how far the middle seats can move fore and aft. These bits don't stick up very far and they can be slid forward to get them out of the way, but its possible they could present an obstacle to certain unboxed items.


The seat tracks are no problem for my old panels, which fit just as easily here as the new ones did in the Odyssey. And my tape says that uncut 4x8 panels will fit, too.

Through it all, the Sienna's middle row center seat (yellow) stands ready and waiting in its hidey hole.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

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